As you walk into St. George’s School, it’s hard to resist the palpable energy that’s familiar to a big city. This action packed school has nurtured the talents of its academics, artists, athletes, and all other corners of a modern school. But underneath the bustling vibe, hidden in starkly quiet hallways during lunch, classrooms fill with a different kind of education. Photographers, writers, music producers, and social media magnets in the making are hard at work building up secret empires of talent; these are the independent creatives of St. George’s.
I caught up with Jake Mallinder, a music producer in Grade 12 who’s chill sound and addictive beats have made him a staple in my playlist. “Jake, how long have you been making music?” “I just started actually, I’m pretty new” he said. I asked Jake about his music and the inspirations in his creative life. When asked what makes him make music, he had this to say: “I don’t know… I don’t watch TV, I don’t play video games, I guess it’s my thing. Listing to music is the most fun thing for me, it’s sick to make music.”
One unique aspect of our school is that it seems to be intertwined to every part of a student’s life, in some ways St. George’s has its very own lifestyle. I always wondered, how going to Saints affects independent projects, how it affects Jake’s music? He told me, “I got a lot of support from the people at Saints. This school gave me confidence, Saints is open, accepting, so I wasn’t afraid. It’s kinda intimidating to put yourself out there, you know how it is. But it was actually a really good response from our school.”
This was uplifting, but it’s only one half of the story, there was still an elephant in the room. There is sometimes a stigma around unconventional interests like music production. In some people’s perspectives, independent projects are distractions from studying and the more established interests like sports and Model United Nations. So I asked Jake a tough question, “there are people who will say that this is a waste of time. It’s not athletic, it’s not academic, and this is not traditionally seen as productive. What’s your response to this kind of thinking? Jake said, “It’s the people who do what they want who are changing the world. Academics follow creative people. A lot of scientists who were called crazy are the ones studied today… we’re the new generation. If you enjoy something, do it.”
In his punch-packing, ahead-of-his-time perspective, there is an underlying maturity. That high level outlook on life may be the key to understanding the independent creative. Completely self-motivated and revolutionary, Jake stands up for what he thinks regardless of what anyone says. It’s the unapologetic side to his chill but tough personality that makes what he does so independent, yet in an odd way, perfectly St. George’s. “Will there be more music to come?” I asked. “Absolutely” he said.